Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Always Read The Small Print

I am back from my holidays and I really, really enjoyed spending time in South Africa. Even though I absolutely love living abroad, there is always a part of me that will belong in South Africa.

I want to tell you a story though.

It started on the 7th of July 2016. We woke up early that morning to a beautiful sunny day. The taxi arrived on time at 06:30 and took us to the bus station from where we left to go to Dublin. It was a four hour journey, but we caught up on some sleep, as we went to bed late trying to squash last minute important things into our suitcases.

At Dublin Airport, we felt very proud of our accomplishments when we managed, for the first time ever, to check-in all by ourselves. We weighed and tagged our bags and put them on the conveyor belt, only to see them again once we reached South Africa. Paulo was a little worried, because we did not label our bags and how will we ever know if it was ours or not. Little did he know, that would be the least of his worries.

On the airplane, Paulo clutched the armrests as if his life depended on them, and Sinead was excited and afraid all at the same time. She was seated by the window and I think she did not realise at the time how very frightening it is to actually see the airplane taking off and leaving earth down below.

After walking along endless corridors we got to check-in at Heathrow for our connecting flight to South Africa. However, the guy at customs paged through our passports, squinted up at us and asked, "Do you have a Birth Certificate for Sinead?"

Did we need one?

It turned out we did.

So, we were send back home at about 22:00 that night with Paulo again holding on for dear life, and Sinead turning her back on the window and clutching onto my arm. With our luck so far, we ended up sitting in the second to last row and caught every tail wind. That was when Paulo became very religious. We arrived safely back in Dublin and had to catch another four hour long bus ride home. When we got home we literally fell into bed. We went all the way to Heathrow just to have a cup of coffee at Starbucks. We are such jet-setters.

Two days later, British Airways let us know they had us on standby for a flight from Heathrow to Johannesburg. It was all very last minute, with little time to spare, but luckily, our bags were still packed and we just shoved in our toiletry bags. However, as we had used up our tickets from Ireland to London we had to buy them again which we did on the taxi ride to Belfast. We arrived in Belfast in little under two hours. Unfortunately, we arrived five minutes after check-in closed and the lady there was so mean! she refused to let us board the plane.

By now our funds were dwindling. Our holiday spending money was shrinking at an alarming rate and we weren't in such a big rush to get home so we caught a bus. Two hours later we were back at home.

Again, British Airways re-scheduled our flight (amazing people!!) and we bought tickets from Belfast to London - again. This time though we could only afford to buy tickets without checking luggage, so we had to only pack for a week, which was okay, seeing as we had already shaved a whole week off our initial three week holiday. We set off with our hand-luggage only and it's amazing what you can fit into that small amount of space.

This time round, we made sure we were waiting hours in between flights and we made it to Johannesburg, South Africa - at last.

It was an incredible journey and made me realise how much determination and perseverance Paulo has. I am also extremely greatful to all the very kind people we met on our arduous journey whom we never would have met if not for all our troubles. British Airways was absolutely amazing, and I will never be able to thank them enough for helping us to re-schedule the flights twice.

In the end, it all worked out well. Tahne & Danie had a beautiful wedding, we got some well-needed Vitamin D, and we saw William, Adelaide & Nathan again. We were shocked at how expensive things are in South Africa - only because we are used to seeing single digit amounts :D We went to visit our old home in Waterfall, KZN and was surrounded my the memories of the dead (sombre thought, but not as bad as it sounds lol)

Moral of the story: Always read the small print.